We had more fun than the law probably allows making our presentation, “What (Most) Pipemen Don’t Know About Peterson” at the 2018 Chicagoland Tobacciana & Pipe Show last weekend. It grew out of thoughts on Peterson’s long brand history after we had written the book, a kind of spontaneous synthesis of everything we’d learned over the course of our research and writing, and at some point I want to make it available to readers.
Our presentation went well, although it was late (9pm) and out at what some were calling “the Secret Smoking Room”—a large upstairs bedroom in what was, once upon a time, the residence of the owner of Pheasant Run Resort. Marie wisely printed out “bread crumbs,” posting directional signs through the maze of corridors.
The resort is the kind of “sacred space” I always find fascinating: it opened in 1965 and was absolutely world-class. Not many changes have actually been made in the resort’s 53-year history, which means it feels like you’ve just stepped into a time machine. If you’ve traveled Route 66, you’ll know the kind of almost other-worldly déjà vu sense of space and space I’m talking about.
Here’s a few photos from the display cases Gary Malmberg, Marie and I put together in the main exhibition hall. You can also see the cases in the first few minutes of a video report on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wkO1klB8SA .
Most of the collection, of course, was Gary’s, and many of the pieces appear in the book. But Gary wanted the display to cover every decade, or at least, every era, of production in Peterson’s long history, and that’s what we did.
Putting up the display cases before the show began on Saturday wasn’t bad, but when we took it down at the end of the show we were swamped with well-wishers and Peterson enthusiasts. Two or three Pete Nuts pulled out their pipes and wanted to know if we could tell them anything about them, and it was a joy to share what we’ve (mostly) had to keep bottled up in the book.
This was my 3rd Chicago show, and like the previous ones it has established itself as one of the high-points in my life as pipeman. When you live your smoking life almost totally in isolation, getting to meet and talk with (and even sometimes buy pipes from) incredible people like Silver Gray, David Iafisco, Sykes Wilford, Ian Walker of Northern Briars, and Pete Prevost and the folks at Briar Works is a bit mind-bending. And being around so many fellow pipers is like being on a long tour of duty to a foreign land where the natives don’t speak your language or understand your culture and then finally, suddenly, coming home.
Mark, thanks for documenting the event. I can’t believe I missed the labor of love you and Gary put together. The effort required to transport all of those items must have been massive. Thanks for sharing via the blog.
Thank you, sir! The publisher is beginning to say things about actually having it published in time for the Chicago show next year, so maybe we can meet then!
Mark, It was such a pleasure to meet you in person after reading so many of your blog articles and the anticipation of getting the Peterson Pipe book being published. Your seminar was the highlight of my whole weekend in Chicago hands down. A more informative and thorough history of Peterson has never been made public as I know it. Just totally blew me away so to speak. Thanks so much for your dedication to the the brand and history. The photos that you share here of the magnificent display on the show floor entrance are priceless.
Andy, likewise! It seems like ages since we first emailed & you sent some things for the book. Your words mean a lot to me. The whole point of the book has always just been to share what we could find out, and if you’re pleased, that means it was worthwhile.
Many thanks, Mark, for another fine article. I would love to one day visit one of the shows that happen around the country.
Thanks for describing this one.
Chicago is probably the one to attend, although I’ve heard good things about Kansas City and the West Coast shows as well.
Thanks for sharing.
Glad you liked it!
Really enjoyed your presentation and am excited for the book to come out! I’m one of the “pete-nuts” you helped on Saturday, thanks again for sharing your knowledge.
Jeff, it was great to me you. It’s all about sharing, and it was a genuine pleasure to be able to tell you what I could about your pipe. Keep in touch!
As with others, this was the joy for me at this show! So good to finally meet you in person – and WHAT A PRESENTATION! I wish the Palmers (heck, the entire lot of Peterson craftspeople) could have been there! How proud they all would have been! You three made a tremendous – heck, THE BEST tribute to the history and future of this brand’s pipes! Thank you all for your tremendous works! On a negative note: where the hell was the US distributor of Peterson – and a display of their brand and the new pipes? Such a missed… Read more »
Linwood, so glad you enjoyed it. It’s all in the sharing for me. I guess it was just not an economic possibility for Ashton to attend. And maybe (who knows) Peterson AND Ashton will be there next year for the book launch. Anyway, it was such a pleasure to meet you in person, good sir!